I have never been a winter person. For me, winter has largely been the time of year when you suck it up in order to get to brighter, sunnier, warmer times.
Like seasonal karma. And my time living in California — that was cheating. Cloudless, temperate cheating.
So taking a long weekend to travel to northern Wisconsin in February was definitely a leap.
But standing in a foot or so of snow on a frozen lake gave me a new appreciation of winter.
Perhaps it was the fact that I was surrounded by winter-loving people, but at least for a weekend, I became a person who sees winter for its fluffy, fun-filled snow and not the dirty, slushy pessimism that usually follows.
So Niel and I drove northward last week to take in the 40th annual Birkebeiner, the largest cross country ski marathon in North America. It stretches 50 kilometers from Cable, Wis., to Hayward, Wis., where Niel’s family has a home on Lake Courte Oreilles.
What does “Birkebeiner” mean? Found this on the event’s website:
It started in 1206. Birkebeiner skiers, so called for their protective birch bark leggings, skied through the treacherous mountains and rugged forests of Norway’s Osterdalen valley during the winter of 1206, smuggling the son of King Sverresson and Inga of Vartieg to safety. The flight taken during the Norwegian Civil War took the Birkebeiners and prince from Lillehammer to safety in the town of Trondheim. Inga of Vartieg never became queen as the prince’s father was killed before he could return for her in Vartieg. Norwegian history credits the Birkebeiners’ bravery with preserving the life of the boy who later became King Haakon Haakonsson IV and forever changed Northern Europes’ history by his reign.
(But more on that in Part Two.)
Before hob-nobbing with skiers, we stopped over in New Glarus, Wis., home of New Glarus Brewing, aka our favorite brewery.
They only distribute in Wisconsin, which makes stock-piling a must. And we had never been there in winter so we were excited to see their winter beers.
And their cherry-filled Belgian Red — my favorite — had a new fruit beer friend, Serendipity, named for the fact that cherries became hard to acquire with the severe drought. So they used what they got with apples and cranberries.
We bought all the beers — nine cases worth, which interestingly all fit in my trunk. Most of the cases were special Kentucky-bound orders for friends.
We stayed the night at the Chalet Landhaus hotel and got a few looks when we carted in the cases of beer to keep them from freezing in the car.
No parties in the hotel room tonight, hotel people, just beer babysitting.
New Glarus is supposedly known as “America’s Little Switzerland,” and this hotel really embraced that.
Like it REALLY embraced it.
This rock seemed important. The letter said it came from the Matterhorn, a mountain in the Alps.
And then there were these glorious, glorious cows. I kind of fell in love with them.
The restaurant at the hotel had several German/Swiss dishes.
Niel was more adventurous than I, opting for weinerschnitzel, which included an egg with anchovies on top.
We also got spaetzle (potato dumplings) and roesti (hashbrowns with Swiss cheese on the bottom), which I really liked.
Prost to identifying with something in my Getman heritage!
The next morning we woke up to a blanket of snow, but thankfully not the seven inches the hotel clerk said they were expecting.
But then again one inch in Kentucky is equal to three up north.
For only spending a few days away from home, our weekend was packed, and more awaited us in Hayward, i.e. weird taxidermy, walking on water and Spandex … lots of Spandex. Not on us … though I’m not sure that makes that sound better.
Part two of my wintertime adventures will come soon.
- Winter adventures Part Two: Anthropomorphic taxidermy, Ski Pa-troll and walking on water
- Where trains once ran, now do pedestrians, cyclists, dogs
- Sweetbread isn’t a dessert, and Satan’s Whiskers go with Brussels sprouts
- A little side trip to The Concrete Lady
- Pin(s) of the Day: Alcoholic marshmallows
My Etsy shop
Where You Will Find MeJun1Sat10:00 am Butchertown Art Fair @ Louisville's Butchertown neighborhoodButchertown Art Fair @ Louisville's Butchertown neighborhoodJun 1 @ 10:00 am – 7:00 pmFrom the Facebook event: “Bigger and better than ever!! Come down to East Washington street on June 1st from 10–7 (with live music and beer [...]Jun5Wed6:30 pm D.I.Y. Louisville craft meet-up @ Sunergos Coffee, Micro-RoasteryD.I.Y. Louisville craft meet-up @ Sunergos Coffee, Micro-RoasteryJun 5 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pmD.I.Y. Louisville’s monthly meet-ups are for local crafters, artists and tinkerers. This meet-up will be a bring-your-own-project craft night. For more information: www.facebook.com/diylouisville and www.diylouisville.blogspot.com/p/diy-louisville-group-events-meet-ups.html. Related Posts Winter [...]Jun13Thu6:00 pm Louisville Bloggers Meet and Greet @ The HangerLouisville Bloggers Meet and Greet @ The HangerJun 13 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pmThe Louisville Bloggers group will host its first-ever meet-and-greet next month, and we would love for you to join us. After reading so much about one [...]
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